11 weeks pregnant
How is your baby growing at 11 weeks?
By week 11 of pregnancy the foetus is about 4cm from head to bottom (crown to rump). From now until week 20, the foetus will be growing rapidly in size – this coincides with the development of the vital organs tapering off. The head will now make up only about one-third of the length of the foetus. The bones of the face have formed, and the eyelids will fuse together and remain closed for the next several weeks. Taste buds will continue developing on the tongue.
The intestines will begin to migrate from the umbilical cord towards the embryo. Although the reproductive organs continue to develop rapidly, the female and male external genitals still look too similar to tell the sex of the baby.
The thin layer of transparent skin that protected the embryo will be replaced with a layer of flattened cells – these are the beginnings of the surface layer of skin.
The placenta will continue to develop rapidly, increasing in size and the number of blood vessels.
How are you changing in week 11?
There's a lot of activity going on inside you that's likely to make you tired, but while you may be looking forward to a good night's sleep, you may struggle to get one.
Your blood vessels will be widening to increase the flow of blood to your baby, which can cause your blood pressure to drop, making you feel light-headed or dizzy. Your digestive system will be slowing down, and some mums-to-be will feel bloated or have indigestion or heartburn. Indigestion and heartburn can happen at any stage of pregnancy – it occurs due to either hormonal changes or the growing baby putting pressure on your stomach.
You may find laughing, coughing or sneezing makes you leak some urine. This is because your pelvic floor tissues have been stretched and softened by the hormones associated with pregnancy, and the pressure the baby is placing on your bladder doesn't help.
What you need to know in week 11
If you haven't already started doing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, get started. If you are struggling to sleep, light exercise during the day may be of help and try winding down at night before going to bed.
If you have indigestion or heartburn, try keeping upright rather than lying down if you have just eaten, and sleep with the head of the bed raised. You might need to eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Together with a blood test you may be offered an ultrasound scan known as a nuchal translucency scan to screen for Down's syndrome - but sometimes this scan can be combined with the dating scan if performed after 11 weeks and 2 days. If these tests indicate a risk of Down's syndrome, you can opt to have a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test. This is a diagnostic test using a syringe to remove a sample of the chorionic villus that forms the placenta, and is performed from around 11 weeks of pregnancy. However, there is a small risk of miscarriage associated with the test of 1%. Amniocentesis, in which a syringe removes a sample of amniotic fluid, is another diagnostic test that can be used to check for Down's syndrome from 15 weeks of pregnancy– the risk of miscarriage is 0.5 – 1%.
Next: 12 weeks pregnant